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The Role of Religion in politics

19 September 2012, 13:25

When l talk of religion, l am going to base this article much on Christianity as it plays a major role especially in most African Countries. Almost all countries in the Southern Africa are believed to be Christian nations; this is confirmed when swearing in presidents that a priest and a bible are used. We also swear in people using the bible in courts and basically use various pastors when its elections time. What however boggle my mind is apart from these areas mentioned; we do not really use Christianity or our religion in politics.

Yes Politics is a dirty game that people would not want to see a man of God being part of but does that mean we can use them for political gains or whenever we feel we need them? Many politicians use the church as a platform to campaign, to air their political agendas and usurp, as it were votes of Christians. Take for instance earlier this year, Julius Malema was seen in Western Cape Twelve Apostle church to celebrate Easter and commemorating the life of Solomon Mahlangu (Umkhonto we Sizwe soldier hanged in 1979 by apartheid government).  Had it been just an innocent visit to a church, why politicize it?  This was one way for him to gain popularity amongst Christians, to come across as caring and endearing person.

More recently, The Zimbabwean Prime Minister got married this past weekend. An ordained Pastor ministered at his wedding but Christianity does not approve of polygamy. He is married already to his estranged wife, should a Pastor then administer this wedding? But because he is a Prime minister, a Pastor can be used to his advantage.

So for politicians it is safe to say, most are Christians only when it is beneficial to them, when you stand to gain votes. During election time, politicians are more inclined to want to be associated with a particular church denomination, but when is it enough?

Is it therefore correct to say, religion that is churches is only a tool used by politicians like television and radios to spread their “word”? That religion has no place in politics except when necessary for politicians? Maybe that is democracy, freedom to be whatever you want to be and whoever you can be regardless of who you use or don't use along the way. What is important is the end result; Christians get to vote as well so, sway them with the best means possible.

I am not saying Christians are gullible to be used in this way but lets face it, it is happening in most areas especially in countries that are Christian nations.

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